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Shaken not stirring

Posted on Mon May 26th, 2014 @ 6:14am by Petty Officer 1st Class Vartog & Civilian Haqtaj Matlh

Location: Embassy

Rough hands gripped Vartog by the back. He wondered for a moment why someone had put carpet on the wall he was resting against. The rough hands were hauling at him again, pulling at him, as if he was a beq'Hom to be shoved around. He flailed wildly at the aggressor but someone had mucked up the gravity because he was now stuck to a wall which was spinning slowly around him.

He rolled and could make out a blurry figure standing on the wall next to him. They must be drunk, he thought, to stand on the wall all blurry like that.

They grabbed at him again and he snarled and lashed out but the opponent caught his arms and held them. Something pressed to his lips; a drink of some sort. We'll he wasn't going to refuse another drink. The taste was bitter though but after the gulp the images around him began to swing into focus.

Haqtaj was crouched over him with a bottle of something in her hand and a very stern look on her face. He appeared to be lying on the floor in a puddle of something too thick to be wine and to noxious to be blood.

Haqtaj grabbed him by the uniform once more and hauled him to his feet, "Up, you!"

Vartog groaned. His head was pounding and he stank of vomit and stale wine. He tried to fend Haqtaj off but his efforts were feeble. “Go away,” he slurred.

The Ambassador was no stranger to this sort of thing. Many of her own people had gone through it after the loss of the fleet in the last days of the Dominion war. What she was at a loss for was why Vartog may be so affected.

"Are you Drunk and Disorderly in your role as a Starfleet officer, or is this how you treat the KDF uniform?" she barked, hoping guilt might bring a little composure to the man. "I have been away for too long and need a status report. If you can't give it to me, I will have you replaced."

Vartog stood unsteadily, swaying slightly from side to side. He’d slept off most of the bloodwine but could still feel its effects. More than that, he felt shame and remorse for what he had done earlier.

“Nothing’s happening,” Vartog replied, “except a plague indiscriminately killing people.” He looked pleadingly at Haqtaj. “How are we to fight what we can’t even see? It took the new Security Chief. He and his men were encased in EVA suits but it still got him."

Haqtaj stepped back at this. It had been on her insistence that the security chief remove his suit. It had cost his life, but it had proved her point about the risk of exposing people unnecessarily.

“I have disgraced this uniform. I deserve to be stripped of it and sent home in disgrace. I’m not a warrior and I’ll never be one. I’m a technician; just a lowly, useless technician.” He hung his head. There, it was said. Now Madame Haqtaj knew him for what he really was.

Haqtaj considered her response carefully, "What? This is the man who stood shoulder to shoulder with me at doors of the civilian quarter holding back waves of Species 8472, Gorn, Borg, Tholians, and more? This is the man who stood with me as we crawled through the station to escape the alien corruption of Starfleet officers, then helped me lead an assault on this very station? If this is not a warrior, then I have not met one."

“I wanted to impress you while you were away. I didn’t know where you’d gone or for how long and it I was cast adrift. But I thought if I could show you that I’m worthy of being a Klingon then your absence would be bearable. I thought I’d have something to show that...that I’d put that time to good use.”

"And this is how you show me?" Haqtaj challenged.

“I was with you,” Vartog stated as if that had serious meaning. He straightened his back and contracted his stomach muscles. He pulled his shoulders back and down. “Now you are back. It will not happen again. However, I have a request. I admire you, Madame Ambassador, but I hereby request a transfer from your service. I want to join Security...if they will have me.”

He waited for a reply, ramrod straight and utterly still. Only the rise and fall of chest and belly gave away the fact that he was not some statue. His eyes were fixed straight ahead. He did not look at Haqtaj; that would be disrespectful. Instead, he fixed on a point on the far wall and did not let his eyes drift from there.

Haqtaj stared at the man for a long while. He was Starfleet, not KDF. He was on loan to her as a liaison, presumably because he was the same race, but possibly because they thought she would be unlikely to damage hm in a mad fit of rage. At the end of the day though, she was not the one who approved his transfer. For him even to ask meant that he would not apply to the CO unless Haqtaj allowed it.

"Vartog, Son of Rahg," Haqtaj said gently, "I have never stopped you from pursuing what you seek. When you left for that woman, I did not stop you. When you took leave to return home, i did not stop you. I do not stop you now. But you will not find what you are looking for in Security, because what your looking for is either there, or it is not, and you have had plenty of time to find it."

"You understand your duty, even to the point of declining an order from me. You understand honour, and give reverence to your superiors as is fitting. But what of yourself? A day will come when your accusers will hurl insults against you. Will you join them, or stand firm in what you know to be true of yourself?"

“My accusers hurl insults at me constantly,” Vartog cried. “I see it in the eyes of the Klingons who think I’m not a warrior because I’m a clerk for an ambassador. I see it in the eyes of the other station personnel for exactly the same reason. They all look down on me; they all see a Klingon who’s not a Klingon.” He drew deep, ragged breath. His back arched. He raised his arms; his hands held in open supplication; his head tilted back, looking at the ceiling, “I’m not a real Klingon!

Haqtaj scoffed, "And you never will be. A true warrior's deeds speak for themselves. What rests in the eyes of another does not count when compared to what you see in the eyes in your mirror. If you were Emperor, you would still doubt yourself, and so you will never be great. If you wish to join Security, I am sure they will need your support. It will take me a long time to find someone who I trust as closely as you though. Take this one last command from me though."

"What ever you choose to do, commit yourself to it fully. If it be admin, then be a better admin than anyone who stands near you. If it be Security, then make the place safer just by your presence. If it be Targ duty, make your Targ the pride of the batch. Find the honour in what you do if you can not find it in yourself. If others will not give you honour, you must take it, just as my father did. He was a Doctor, and he forced the Council to acknowledge him."

She waved her hand, dismissing him, "Or return to your bottle and drink yourself beyond recovery. I have work to do, and if you will not be here to aid me, I must find another."

Somehow, Haqtaj’s words found their way through the fog in Vartog’s brain. Maybe it was what she said; maybe it was how she said it. Maybe it was a mixture of both. Whatever, Vartog responded. “It has been an honour to serve you, Madame Ambassador. I use the word in the sense the Federation uses it. However, I will take your words to heart and I will find honour – Klingon honour – in serving you. Maybe my deeds will not be the stuff of song in Sto Vo Kor but I will know here....” He thumped his heart. “....whether I have lived an honourable life and if no-one else knows it but you then that one person will be enough. I ask only one thing....”

"What is this, a tag team? You ask, then I ask, then you," Haqtaj joked, "NuqneQ?"

Vartog managed a thin smile but his eyes showed more light than they had in over a day. “Next time you go on one of your hare-brained adventures, take me with you, not Chief Jrez.”

Haqtaj smiled, "I did. You don't remember running through the ducts with the human child? Now go and get cleaned up. I have a lot of work to do, and I will not do it with a sot. We have an image to maintain, now more than ever. I think I need to pick a fight with the Federation."


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